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The Sacrifice Bunt That (Might Have) Changed the Game

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"I've got a pair of hits for the evening, and I've been my team's hottest hitter over the last week... but I think I'll bunt in a game changing situation."
"I've got a pair of hits for the evening, and I've been my team's hottest hitter over the last week... but I think I'll bunt in a game changing situation."

Surprisingly, Curtis Granderson's sacrifice bunt in the 7th inning of yesterday's game did actually increase the Yankees' odds of winning the game- by little over one tenth of one percent.

Let's imagine for a moment that something else could have occurred, and use the Hardball Time's Win Probability Calculator to evaluate the possibilities.

I'm assuming a 4.0 run environment- I don't know what Target Field's actual environment, but 4.0 is on the low side of average, and Target has been a pitcher friendly park.  When Granderson stepped to the plate, the Yankees had an 87.55% chance of winning the game.

Play Outcome Likelihood WPA Outcome WPA Outcome WPA
Double Play runner on 3rd, 0 scored
1.9% -6.27 runner on 2nd, 0 scored
-6.63 runner on 1st, 0 scored
-7.45
One out, grounder or fly- runners on 2nd & 3rd, 0 scored
65% +0.17 on 1st & 3rd, 0 scored
-1.00 on 1st & 2nd, 0 scored
-3.29
Single 2 runs scores 13.8% +7.53 1 run scored, runners 1st & 2nd
+5.44 1 run scored, 1st & 3rd +6.99
Walk 0 runs score, bases loaded 10.5%
+4.12
Double 2 runs score

3.5%

+8.21 1 run scores +7.36
Triple 2 runs score 1.5% +9.07
Homer 3 runs score 4.0% +9.42


So, for clarity: Curtis Granderson made the 'smart' baseball play, forcing the most likely outcome, sacrificing a nearly 1 in 3 chance of a more favorable outcome, out of fear of a less favorable outcome which occurs less than twice every hundred times.

Methodology after the jump.

GIDP: career GIDP/ PA with runners on

Single: '08, '09, '10 H- (2B+3B+HR)/PA

Double: '08, '09, '10 2B/PA

Triples: '08, '09, '10 3B/PA

Homer: '08, '09, '10 HR/PA